Peacock Family Vineyard (not to be confused with Peacock Cellars in Arroyo Grande in California’s Central Coast) is located in the beautiful Spring Mountain District, just minutes outside of the town of St. Helena. The 6+ planted acres are located at 1,000 feet at the end of a rolling narrow windy and steep hillside road. Founders Chris and Betsy Peacock moved here in 1991 and purchased the site from the then owners of Raymond Winery. The Peacock’s initially sold the grapes to one of their Spring Mountain neighbors, Barnett Winery (who produced a Peacock Vineyard designate) but then began producing their own wine in 1999 (Cabernet Sauvignon).
Chris (died in 2023) and Betsy are very well traveled and are attracted to a variety of interests besides wine including the spiritual world (Chris went to seminary school where he graduated with a degree in divinity), travel and the arts. Chris also served in the Korean War and later started his own commercial real estate company.
Their home is built of rammed earth and is one of only several vintner homes in Napa Valley that we know of built in this style. Others included Wing Canyon before their home and winery burned down in the 2017 fires, Dyer on Diamond Mountain and the winery building for Long Meadow Ranch. This type of construction uses gravel, sand, silt and a small amount of clay rammed into extremely thick but porous walls (provides excellent insulation).
With Chris and Betsy getting up in years, their daughter Rebecca joined the team in 2013, leaving a career in the world of fashion. For 15 years Rebecca owned and operated Les Deux Copines (translates from French into English as the two girlfriends), a boutique primarily women’s apparel store in Burlingame, California which focuses on French fashion. This store is still in business but under different ownership. Rebecca is often on the road marketing the wine, attending dinners and other events.
The vineyard is perched in a stunning location on the side of a saddle which overlooks the lower part of Spring Mountain as well as onto the Napa Valley floor with views to both the north and south from the property. The vines are planted on steep hillside following the curvature of the slope – wrapping around the property with numerous exposures. Sometimes this is above the fog line and all you see from above is a white ‘pillow’ covering the valley floor. This is prime hillside vineyard real estate located next to other notable vineyards from other wineries. And remarkably, while surrounded by rugged natural hillsides, the vineyard is only located about a 10-minute drive into the town of St. Helena.
Much of the vineyard is planted to a specific clone of Cabernet Sauvignon although individual block replanting’s have introduced additional Cabernet Sauvignon clones. They also make a rare (for a Spring Mountain producer) Pinot Noir, sourced from the Russian River Valley in neighboring Sonoma County. And in more recent years they produce a Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc.
Winemaker Craig Becker has crafted every vintage since joining the team in 1999 and is who we originally met and visited the property with. Conveniently, before he became Peacock’s winemaker, he was already familiar with Spring Mountain grown grapes having previously worked at nearby Spring Mountain Winery where he was promoted to winemaker at age 23. Today he is Peacock’s winemaker and general manager.
He began his career in Napa Valley by working for Robert Mondavi in 1996; in 2003 he decided to focus on consulting and today makes wine for a handful of clients. Similar to the work he does for his clients, Craig’s focus is on hillside grown single vineyard produced wines. He strives to showcase the particular vineyard site as well as the varietal characteristics of the wine.
Their estate Cabernet Sauvignon tends to age very well and continues to show the richness, depth and structure even after many years – yet despite all these focused hallmarks, their wines are always extremely well balanced.
The 2021 Peacock Family Vineyard Rosé Russian River, Sonoma County is deep copper in color; the bouquet offers scents of crisp apple, citrus blossom, lime juice, raspberry, watermelon, pomegranate and passion fruit. There is also a subtle hint of vanilla found deep in the aromatics. The palate offers some flinty mineralities, along with flavors of honeydew melon, tangerine, orange zest and strawberries. The wine’s texture is an immediately noticeable attribute; it rolls across the palate like one running their hands across smooth velvet and is noticeably creamy and supple. The finish offers a lasting richness of flavor accompanied by bright but not bracing acidity.
The 2021 Peacock Family Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc was sourced from the 1,682-acre Somerston Vineyard in Chiles Valley, in the hills east of the main Napa Valley floor. This wine is medium gold in color; we immediately noted the aromatics smell like the variety without being too green or grassy. Nor is it too tropical or ripe on the bouquet, a style that many Napa Valley producers have embraced for their own Sauvignon Blanc bottlings. Rather its style falls somewhere in the middle. The highly expressive nose offers scents of white peach, citrus blossom, lemongrass, green apple, kiwi, pineapple, a hint of apricot and star jasmine. The palate is a riper expression of this variety than the bouquet, offering flavors of Golden Delicious apple, pineapple, passion fruit, melon and mandarin. The mouth feel offers a supple and gentle texture. The finish is bright without any bracing acidity, is richly flavored and long lasting.
The 2019 Peacock Family Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, Doña Margarita Vineyard is made with the Pommard clone. This vineyard is owned by Marimar Estate Winery and is located between the tiny communities of Freestone and Occidental in western Sonoma County, only about seven miles from the Pacific Ocean. This wine is pale to medium ruby in color; the first word we wrote down was spicy to describe its aromatic character. It offers scents of white pepper, old cedar box, dark raspberry, a hint of mushroom, mocha and assorted baking spices. Its fruit core shows more as the wine has time to evolve in the glass. The plate offers a creamy and soft texture accompanied by plenty of flavor including of cherry, black raspberry and spiced plum. This is a riper expression of this variety. The finish offers some spices including of pepper and cardamom. The tannins are well-integrated and lightly grainy in their lingering textural feel. This wine drinks very well by itself. For reference, Peacock’s first vintage of Pinot Noir was in 2007.
The 2004 Peacock Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is dark and inky in color and is very representative of concentrated Spring Mountain fruit, layered in flavor but not overly tannic. The wine is fairly supple and seamless across the palate featuring an extremely long finish. The nose is elegant and opens the more you leave it in the glass. Mocha, vanilla and fruit make this a very aromatic wine with the fruit following on the palate including cherry and plum with notes of baking spices and subtle hints of oak towards the finish. The tannins are definitely there but do not overwhelm, rather they complement this already very well balanced wine nicely. Indigenous yeasts were used during the fermentation and the wine was unfiltered.
Peacock Vineyard mostly survived the devastating Glass Fire of 2020 which burned much of Spring Mountain. They lost about one acre of grapes and a number of trees including the tall cypress which lined part of their driveway. Miraculously their home did not burn. Unfortunately other Spring Mountain neighbors were not so lucky.
One cannot help but notice their labeling; each label features a large colorful peacock with feathers comprising most of the label. The Peacock wines are primarily sold direct to consumer, however one can find their wines at select local Napa Valley based wine shops and there is extremely limited distribution in certain markets nationally. Total production is merely around 700 cases each year. Sometimes library wines are available for purchase. Visits to the vineyard are on a very limited basis for serious wine enthusiasts or existing Peacock club members; guests will generally meet with one of the family.
For more information or to join their allocation list, visit: www.peacockvineyard.com
The 20-case Three-Sum lot of Cabernet Sauvignon featuring Peacock, Howell at the Moon and Kelleher fetched $65,000 at auction today! Wow.
Posted by Peacock Family Vineyard on Saturday, February 21, 2015
Coming your way, Peacock Family Vineyard friends and family, this amazing online auction pair of of 3-liter Spring…
Posted by Peacock Family Vineyard on Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Mike Goblet says
Chris – we met a few years ago in Rio Verde with your brother at a Ranch Cookout. Hoping to stop by and say hello. Your wine was great then and sure it is today. Hope to be able to say hello.
Hugh Tierney says
Chris do not know if you remember me or not so much time has gone by. I was wondering if you have any info on our friend Bill Hamm. I heard he died.Last time I saw you we were having lunch with Bill at the University Club. Hope everything is well with you. Hugh Tierney